Saw an article in the Wall Street Journal today (requires login to read the whole article) that touched on how broad the counterfeiting problem is and how a number of US companies are working with the US Chamber of Commerce to educate officials in other countries about the issue. I think many people don’t realize the significant losses in tax revenue and jobs due to counterfeiting and how it impacts the ability of countries to benefit from producing their own intellectual property. The reason there aren’t stronger locally based software businesses or other IP based businesses in some countries isn’t necessarily because they don’t have skilled engineers it’s because they don’t have as strong observation of intellectual property as exists in more developed countries. Lack of respect or observation of IP laws leads businesses to be wary of investments in some countries and makes getting a locally based business off the ground very difficult.
While the article is a good summary what I found most cool about it was that they not only included a quote from a friend and colleague, Cori Hartje, but they included a picture she took of counterfeit products she saw for sale at a market in Brazil. Cori also told me that while one of the vendors there did have Windows Vista for sale they warned her that it wouldn’t work for very long because of what Microsoft is doing to stop piracy of the product. Great to see that the word is getting out!